Monday, August 8, 2011

Do we all scream for Ice Cream?

Did you know that Americans, on average, eat about 20 quarts of ice cream a year. They eat it, they buy it and they make it themselves either by the old hand crank/rock salt method or they have a fancy schmancy machine that does all the churning and hard work for them. They also roll it around in a ball that doesn't look much different than a dog toy.

I, however, am not the typical ice cream consuming American. There is no bucket of ice cream in my freezer, no late night cravings for a scoop or two of Moose Tracks. No drowning my sorrows in a bowl of Chunky Monkey. But this does make me the perfect roommate because I will never eat the last spoonful of your precious hidden behind the frozen peas. Even the bacon ice cream is all yours.

So it was with a skeptical eye that I looked at Virginia Willis' cooking challenge this week. Not one or two but FIVE different ice creams. I considered taking a pass. Not only am I not a big fan of ice cream, I have no machine with which to make it in. But then I got to googling and found David Liebovitz's method for making ice cream without a machine. Hmmmmmm. I do happen to like peach ice cream. Could I make this work and take a decent picture of the results? (As if last week's souffle challenge wasn't enough???)

peach ice cream 1

So I took Virginia's recipe for peach ice cream, halved it (because I'm not going to eat 7 cups of ice cream by myself) and took some suggestions from David Liebovitz's blog on making ice cream at home, mainly by adding a bit of alcohol to keep the ice cream from freezing rock hard. So in went a smidgen of peach brandy to soften it up. Making ice cream involves making a custard. Or it means making scrambled eggs if you don't temper your egg yolk mixture carefully enough. Yes, I speak from experience but it is a learning experience. It's also an exercise in getting the right consistency. David's method could easily lapse into into the ice crystal zone if you don't have a creamy enough custard to begin with and if you don't mix the ice cream enough in the freezing process. As for the photography process, ice cream is one of those items that old school professional food photographers use quite a bit of cheats. Things like substituting mashed potatoes for ice cream. The one trick I did use was to pre-scoop my ice cream and cover a sheet pan with plastic wrap and re-freeze the scoops. I think that's an old Martha Stewart trick but you can ask Virginia since she actually worked for Martha.

peach ice cream 2

The end result was a lovely creamy peach ice cream which would have cost me a fortune in the grocery store if I could find one that carried a decent tasting peach ice cream. So if you've got a ice cream machine or the old hand churn and energetic kids to churn it, definitely try one of Virginia or David's homemade ice cream recipes. Me? I'm going back to making a hearty BLT.


MakingSpace said...

First of all, you don't crave either chocolate OR ice cream?????!!!!!

Second of all, that peach ice cream looks intense. I like your trick for refreezing scoops, I bet it would work even if you weren't aiming to photograph later. That way each scoop would be smaller and tend to stay more frozen. Hmm...

Beautiful, last photo makes me wanna grab a spoon.

froggy said...

Since my intake of ice cream is severely limited The Engineer bravely steps up and consumes my 20 quarts worth plus his own.

Looks tasty. Can you taste the alcohol? That would be a deal breaker for me.

Had a chemical engineer friend who used to make homemade ice cream as a science lesson for her kids' classrooms. Very, very popular lesson!

Big Shamu said...

If I knew you were coming I would have made the full recipe. And added peach chunks.

Froggy, no on the alcohol taste. Very smooth and creamy. Next time I might have the peach puree and then add some peach chunk puree, not huge chunks because I'm not a big fan of chewing on frozen fruit but small enough by the time you eat it it has melted to peachy goodness.

Dani said...

Hot Damn, I'll be right over!

Big Shamu said...

And everybody have some peach brandy because I doubt I'll be using that ever again.

Terry and Linda said...

YUMMMMMMMMMM I love ice cream recipes! I have a great one using jello would you like it?


Big Shamu said...

Sure, bring it on.